The one change I will definitely make this year (2018 edition).

I know we are deep into January. Resolutions should have been made and broken by now! I try to avoid the resolution trap. We can make small changes at any time. Here’s one.

Technology is a part of my life. I’ve adapted my smartphone so that I can access
my work, read the news, listen to music, and track my exercise. By working on healthy digital literacy skills, I hope to continue harnessing this tool to enhance my life. The same goes for social media. I read a lot of blog posts about the scourge of Twitter or the life-suck of Facebook. I have concerns about the use of these media platforms, but digital literacy is required to make sure these products don’t overtake my life. Perhaps it’s optimistic, but platforms like these require harnessing. The responsibility of digital literacy rests with me, the user.

That said, I experienced a vacation from these technologies. Literally. I traveled out of the country and left the phone in the suitcase. This was instructive. I used my phone as a camera.

What did I enjoy not having? Notifications. I don’t need them. I turned them off. Just like 2006, I can at least decide when I access information via these platforms.

I did miss chatting with friends via Twitter. I think the ability to text friends has a lot of relevance in an adult’s life. I felt a little cut-off from work, where I do derive satisfaction and identity. I missed accessing music streaming.

So, that’s the little thing I’m changing: I will create a boundary between myself and my digital, automated life.

 

Author: Stephen Cummings

I've been involved with the social work field for over 20 years, although I needed a good mentor early on to state explicitly: "You know what you are doing is social work, right?" I worked with a community-based agency for people with intellectual disabilities before seeking my MSW. After graduating, I worked as a hospital social worker for 10 years, focusing on interventions for trauma patients and families. I've had an interest in technology in the field of social work practice, which led me to my current role as the Distance Education Director and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa School of Social Work.

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